StrictlyVC: October 12, 2017

Hi, happy Thursday, everyone!

We’re still thinking of everyone just north of us and sending love to the many friends who live there and have either evacuated or may need to shortly. Puerto Rico. Texas. Florida. Now this? We’ll be very happy when this annus horribilis comes to a close.

Top News in the A.M.

Bitcoin recorded a new high this morning, racing past the $5,000 mark.

Mysterious Magic Leap may be raising as much as $1 billion more to fund its vision of a future filled with augmented reality glasses. TechCrunch has more here.

Equifax has pulled one of its customer service webpages, after another possible attack.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said this morning that the company is fully committed to helping U.S. congressional investigators publicly release Russia-backed political ads that ran during the 2016 U.S. election. But she sidestepped repeated questions about what Facebook knew about the extent of Russia’s use of its platform.

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Atomic, a Startup Studio Backed by Thiel and Andreessen, Ups Its Ambitions

Atomic isn’t a household brand, but Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen know it fairly intimately. The two billionaire investors, along with the venture firm Felicis Ventures, were among the earliest investors in the four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup studio, which closed its debut fund with $20 million.

Now Atomic is looking to raise five times that much capital for its follow-on effort, shows an SEC filing.

The company declined our request for an interview earlier today, but given its traction so far, don’t be surprised if it lands there quickly.

First, what it does: Atomic, which has 15 employees, judging by LinkedIn, essentially comes up with its own ideas for companies, then seeks out individuals who it thinks could steer these companies. After that, it seeks out larger investments from conventional venture capital firms to build them into sustainable businesses.

So far, Atomic — which is headquartered a stone’s throw from Thiel’s firm Founder Fund, in San Francisco’s verdant Presidio national park, and has a sales office in Phoenix and a small engineering campus in Waterloo — has come up with 10 companies, six of which are listed at its website, and at least four of which have raised significant funding, shows Crunchbase.

Among them are the Wi-Fi marketing startup Zenreach, which has now raised $80 million altogether, including from Founders Fund, Formation 8 and others; a consumer photo service called Ever that last month raised $16 million in Series B funding led by Icon Ventures, with participation from Felicis Ventures and Khosla Ventures (it has raised $29 million altogether); and the voice-powered sales startup TalkIQ, which closed on $14 million in Series A funding last month, led by Scale Venture Partners.

Atomic itself writes checks typically of between $200,000 and $2 million.

More here.

New Fundings

250ok, a six-year-old, Indianapolis, In.-based email analytics and deliverability company, has raised $2.6 million in Series A funding led by Arthur Ventures. MediaPost has more here.

Allume, a 1.5-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based on-demand personal shopping service, has raised $3 million in seed funding from True Ventures and unnamed angel investors. VentureBeat has more here.

Appear Here, a four-year-old, London-based online marketplace for short-term retail space, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the real estate-focused venture firm Fifth Wall VenturesMore here.

CloudZero, a 1.5-year-old, Boston-based site reliability management platform for cloud computing, has raised $5 million in Series A funding co-led by Matrix Partners and Underscore VCMore here.

CoverWallet, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based company that aims to make it easy for small businesses to buy and manage their insurance, has raised $18.5 million in Series B funding led byFoundation Capital, with participation from earlier backers Union Square VenturesIndex VenturesCV Starr, and Two Sigma VenturesMore here.

Creative Market, an online marketplace for ready-to-use design assets from independent creators, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Accomplice. The company was spun out of publicly traded Autodesk. VatorNews has more here.

EazyDiner, a three-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based restaurant reservation startup, has raised $4.6 million in Series B funding led byBeenext, with participation from an undisclosed family office and earlier backers DSG Consumer Partners and Saama Capital. DealStreetAsia has more here.

Grover, a two-year-old, Berlin-based startup that enables people to subscribe to tech products monthly instead of buying them, has raised $11.7 million in debt funding from Varengold BankMore here.

HappyOrNot, an eight-year-old, Tampere, Finland-based feedback data analytics company, has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding led by Northzone. has more here.

Janpix, a new, Massachusetts-based startup that’s developing selective small molecule inhibitors of STAT proteins as a cancer treatment, has raised C$22 million ($17.6 million) in  funding fromMedicxi, a European venture firm. BioSpace has more here.

Knowbox, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based mobile app startup that helps teachers and students manage their homework, has raised $30 million in Series B-plus funding led by Bertelsmann Asia Investments, with participation from HaoweilaiBaidu Ventures and New World Development Co. The company had raised $15 million in Series B funding last November. More on the company here.

Kobalt, a 17-year-old, New York-based music rights and publishing company, has added $14 million in fresh funding to a Series D round that brings the company’s total funding to $80 million. The round was led by VC Bill Maris, who is now joining the company’s board of directors. Variety has more here.

SecurityScorecard, a four-year-old, New York-based grading service that helps organizations identify and manage key risks of their cloud-based information systems and those of their partners, has raised $27.5 million in Series C funding led by Nokia Growth Partners. Other investors in the round include Moody’s CorporationAXA Strategic VenturesIntel Capital, and earlier backers Sequoia CapitalGVBoldstart VenturesTwo Sigma Ventures, and Evolution Equity Partners. VentureBeat has more here.

ShiftLeft, a year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based startup promising to protect developers’ code (even when companies ignore security threats), has raised $9.3 million in Series A funding co-led by Bain Capital Ventures and Mayfield, with participation from numerous individuals. TechCrunch has more here.

Tooshlights, a 4.5-year-old, Tarzana, Ca.-based smart restroom traffic management system (so you know if a stall is occupied without crumbling to your knees first), has raised $3 million in Series A funding from the Texas-based convenience store chain Buc-ee’s. Internet of Business has more here.

True Link Financial, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based financial services firm focused on seniors, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by QED Investors, with participation from Radicle Impact and Initialized CapitalMore here.


It’s been a good day for three companies that just went public after toiling away at their businesses for a number of years:

CarGurus, an 11-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based car marketplace that had never raised venture capital, raised $150 million in an IPO before hitting the market this morning, where it shares soared 72 percent before the market’s close. The company is the first Boston-based tech company to go public this year.

OrthoPediatrics, an 11-year-old, Warsaw, In.-based company that makes pediatric orthopedic implants, raised $52 million in an IPO. Its shares, available to the public for the first time this morning, ended the day 47 percent higher than where they started.

Restoration Robotics, a 16-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company whose robots assist doctors in hair transplant surgery, raised $25 million in an offering before hitting the market this morning. Its shares traded up 41 percent before the market’s close.


Bessemer Venture Partners and Fifth Wall Ventures has acquired the majority share of WiredScore  a real estate tech firm — of Jared Kushner. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Forbes has more here.


Vijay Sondhi has joined Financial Technology Partners a managing director. He’d spent the previous five years with Visa, leaving as an SVP.

Scale Venture Partners just promoted three of its colleagues. Alexander Niehenke is now a partner with the firm, Susan Liu to principal, and Jeremy Kaufmann has been bumped up to senior associate.


LaunchCapital, a seed and early-stage VC firm, is newly hiring for an investment associate to help source and evaluate new deals. The job is in New Haven, Ct.

Essential Reads

Twitter is infuriating users again today, having temporarily blocked (without explaining more quickly why) the account of actor Rose McGowan. She has been speaking out in recent days against producer Harvey Weinstein. Twitter now says it blocked the account because a tweet of McGowan’s included a private phone number. Many are asking why the company has been so comparatively lenient when handling more serious and provocative missteps on the platform, including those of Donald Trump.

Amazon‘s second headquarter bid has ignited a “sadistic” frenzy across North American cities that want a shot at the prize.

A Chicago-based company that’s backed by Goldman Sachs andAlphabet and reportedly worth $5.5 billion, has misled advertisers with manipulated info, reports the WSJ.

“South Park” just slammed Facebook for selling fake news.


Why tech companies should hire English majors.

pet furniture collection, by Ikea.

Jerry Rice, wedding crasher.

Retail Therapy

Noise-cancelling headphones. All of them.:)

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